In her new movie “Hounddog,” Dakota Fanning plays a 12-year-old girl who is raped. And this is causing a big hoopla, because some people believe it is “simulated sex.”
For one thing, there is a big difference between sex and rape. Rape and child molestation are not consensual acts. For another, “Hounddog” is a movie, a piece of fiction that depicts something that happens all over the world and is often shoved under the rug by those that feel it is not “polite conversation.” Take, for instance, the child abuse scandals within the Catholic Church. Children were encouraged to keep quiet about the fact that trusted officials sexually abused them; the officials, instead of being punished, were allowed to keep their posts.
This outrage over “Hounddog” is misplaced. Instead of attacking and trying to censor fiction, the focus should be on the very real problem of child abuse in America and around the world.
Instead of examining the deeper meaning behind a work of fiction, and discussing the topics explored, there are those that proclaim themselves leaders and insist that their followers have knee-jerk reactions, take things out of context, and attack.
And who are these so-called “leaders” anyway? How do they truly represent the people that they presume to lead? Recently, evangelical leader Rev. Ted Haggard engaged in sex and drug use with a gay escort. Does that represent the lifestyle of a majority of evangelical Christians? I’m guessing no.
Now, before most have even had a chance to see the movie and understand what it is about, “leaders” within the church and elsewhere are calling for a boycott. Granted, it’s doubtful that this movie is suitable for children, but it explores real issues that adults should be aware of when it comes to the safety of their children. In the movie, Dakota Fanning’s character is molested by a trusted relative, her father. There are people that may believe such a thing is unlikely or rare, that people that are trusted members of the community and of the family are the last to want to cause harm to children. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
But this is not the first time that there has been an attempt to censor a work of fiction and it will not be the last. All over the country there are those that call for boycotts against books and movies, often for no real reason. This is a shame in a society that is supposed to be the forerunner for free speech and democracy.